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Washington, D.C., fits neatly into about 68 square miles. And yet, per Visit DC, there are approximately 129 hotels with 31,293 rooms for travelers to choose from.
Needless to say, while preparing for a whirlwind trip to our nation’s capital city, my fiance, Ben, and I felt overwhelmed by the many options from which to pick.
With less than 24 hours scheduled in the city, however, location served as the topmost factor for narrowing down the possibilities. I had not set foot on D.C.’s historical streets in nearly a decade, and Ben’s last trip dated back to the heyday of boy bands and frosted tips (also known as the '90s). So, ideally, we would stay a reasonable distance from some of D.C.’s most popular attractions — such as the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.
But we did even better: Booking a stay at the boutique Kimpton Mason & Rook Hotel was like striking gold for hurried but ambitious travelers such as ourselves. The property sits on a sun-dappled brownstone-lined street in downtown Washington, D.C.’s “it” neighborhood of Logan Circle; not to mention, it’s just around the corner from the hip 14th Street corridor known for its trendy restaurants, bars and shops.
And the icing on an already sweet cake: Mason & Rook offers hotel guests complimentary use of quality bikes from the San Francisco-based brand Public, which helped make our zippy exploration of D.C.’s greatest monuments and sites — almost all less than 2 miles away — a sheer breeze.
- Kimpton Mason & Rook Hotel is pet-friendly at no additional charge.- Wi-Fi access is free through a Kimpton Karma Rewards membership (also at no cost).- Overnight parking is $49, and daily parking is $25. - Booking a stay includes a facilities fee of $21 plus tax.
Guestrooms and Public SpacesOpen since April 2016, the 178-room Mason & Rook was first an apartment building before it was converted into a series of different hotels. The structure’s most recent journey of becoming a Kimpton property was perhaps the biggest transformation, as the space was gutted to its brick frame and received a brand-new 1,700-square-foot ballroom, too. Today, hotel guests will feel like they are swinging by a stylish friend’s home for a fun stay in the city — which is exactly the vibe Mason & Rook is going for.
“We wanted it to come across as well-curated, richly textured yet not too showy, as well as familiar and welcoming, but with an elevated aesthetic,” said Donte Johnson, general manager of the property.
Indeed, in collaboration with New York City-based design firm Bill Rooney Studio, Kimpton has designed the hotel beautifully: The lobby features two sitting areas that resemble living rooms, each appointed with an astute mix of contemporary and midcentury-style furniture in jewel and muted hues. There’s also a showstopper of a bookshelf stocked with interesting reads for spectators to peruse, as well as a handsome brass Italian chess set that summons both players and admirers.
Here, guests can also map out the day’s plans over coffee and tea in the mornings, while beverages from 5-6 p.m. include select red and white wines and local microbrews; all are served complimentary. (Nonalcoholic options include seasonal drinks such as lemonade or hot chocolate, in addition to infused water.)
Checking into the 178-room Kimpton Mason & Rook Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C. is like staying at a stylish friend’s home. // © 2017 Kimpton Mason & Rook Hotel
Guestrooms are spacious and well-appointed with luxe furniture, art and amenities. // © 2017 Kimpton Mason & Rook Hotel
Additional items of note include a 65-inch television and an oversize desk, perfect for business travelers. // © 2017 Kimpton Mason & Rook Hotel
Bathrooms feature marble flooring and counters as well as a large glass-enclosed rain shower. // © 2017 Kimpton Mason & Rook Hotel
The rooftop pool is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, though it may open off-season during warm weather. // © 2017 Kimpton Mason & Rook Hotel
Order food and drinks at the rooftop bar. // © 2017 Kimpton Mason & Rook Hotel
After taking in the bespoke details of Mason & Rook’s public spaces, the elevator ride to our eighth-floor Executive King Studio felt almost electric with our anticipation. Upon opening the door, I fell silent, my eyes hungrily taking in the spacious room’s — no surprise here — sleek and sophisticated furnishings and decor, including a curated gallery wall and luxe seating. Other details of note included an expansive window with views of the city and blackout curtains; a 65-inch television; a large desk; an in-room Gaiam yoga mat; a Mini Jambox music player; and a large bathroom with marble flooring, a marble sink and a substantial marble-lined shower.
Also on the eighth floor is access to the hotel’s modish rooftop space, which features a small pool, several seating areas and a bar. Open seasonally from Memorial Day through Labor Day (though occasionally open off-season during good weather), the pool is available to hotel guests daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Evening lounge service for the public begins at 5 p.m. This summer, Mason & Rook is hosting a monthly pop-up series on the rooftop; during my trip in early May, the theme was “Radiator on the Green,” which brought on the addition of a small putting green; country-club-inspired drinks and food; and bartenders decked out in golf attire.
Another option for grabbing tasty bites is Radiator, the automobile-themed cocktail bar and restaurant adjacent to the lobby. On our visit, it seemed to overflow well into the night with patrons mingling either inside or on the patio, which is equipped with a fire pit and oversized versions of games such as Connect Four and Jenga.
At Radiator, Mason & Rook’s Johnson endorses the lamb belly tacos, a staple of executive chef Jonathan Dearden’s rotating menu. To wash them down, he says to order crowd-favorite cocktail “Eddie Would Go,” which features a Hawaiian spirit called okolehao, a nod to head bartender Sarah Rosner’s island roots.
If a visit to Mason & Rook falls on a Wednesday, don’t miss the hotel’s Made at Mason Series showcasing local neighborhood experiences, which has included poetry readings; tastings from local distillers such as Joseph A. Magnus & Co. and One Eight Distilling; and more.
Not long after checking in, it dawned on me: A fantastic hotel with a prime location can be a double-edged sword. Although Washington, D.C., waited for us outside — and our time in the city was ticking — we still had so much to discover at Mason & Rook.